Struggling to breathe is not a situation that any of us wants to be in but for nearly 800,000 Arizonans that is what they face every day. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce an event and organization that we all can join to help all of us breathe easier.
I, along with one of my partners, Jean Nelson, FNP-C, are the co-chairmans for 2011 Fight For Air Walk put on by the Arizona chapter of the American Lung Association (ALA). This event used to be known as the Asthma Walk but the name has been changed to truly encompass all the respiratory problems that the ALA works to correct, including chronic obstructive lung disease, lung cancer, smoking cessation, air quality issues in addition to asthma. This is one of the largest Lung Association walks in the country. Money raised in the Fight for Air Walk goes to support Camp Not-A-Wheeze, the ALA’s traditional summer camp for children with asthma, research to study asthma, COPD and lung cancer, asthma education, tobacco prevention and cessation along with supporting the fight for clean air.
To help understand the impact of pulmonary disease in Arizona, here are some facts to consider. Arizona has the second highest asthma rate in the country and is the leading cause of school absenteeism for children. COPD is the third leading cause of death in Arizona. The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale area was number 11 on the American Lung Association’s State of the Air report for the most ozone polluted cities. Lung cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women.
So why am I taking the time to introduce the ALA’s Fight For Air Walk? I would like to see even more people involved in this very worthwhile event. You may be asking yourself “How can I get involved?” There are three main avenues to becoming involved. First, you or your company could be an event sponsor. There are levels from $1500 and up. This allows your company to be recognized by the community as a leader in the fight for air. Secondly, you can organize a walk team. This can be done with family members, a company team or even a school or athletic team. It is a great way to enjoy a beautiful Saturday morning with friends and colleagues while raising money for a worthy cause. Lastly, you could donate directly to the ALA.
I hope that I have raised some interest in joining Jean and myself in making the 2011 Fight For Air Walk the biggest and best walk yet. The walk will be held at the Scottsdale Civic Center on Saturday, April 2, 2011. For more information go to the American Lung Association’s web site, www.LungArizona.org, or log on to www.FightForAir.org. You can also call 602-258-7505. Janelle Tassart or Stacey Mortenson would be more than happy to talk to you about participating or even come to you workplace to help organize a company walk team.
Every day 800,000 individuals in Arizona worry about their next breath. It could be you, a family member or a friend or coworker. There is a good chance that respiratory disease has some impact in your life. Please help us help everyone breathe a little easier. As they have said in the past, “If you can’t breathe, nothing else matters!” See you at the walk.